Maybe it’s the snaking queue or the neon sign that glows above its staggering array of dishes, each plate stacked on top of the other – either way, there’s no denying that Hajjah Mona Nasi Padang has presence. Quality is what you get in Hajjah Mona’s nasi padang. The beef in the rendang is tender and sits in a luscious spicy coconut stew, milder dishes like the opor ayam (chicken in coconut gravy) and gulai daun singkong (cassava leaves stew) are full of flavour. Some of the best-sellers include rawon (tender meat chunks in aromatic buah keluak gravy), asam pedas (a spicy fish stew) and limpa rendang (spleen in coconut stew). The rawon recipe is based on the original East Java version, where the dark broth is thicker and more savoury. The asam pedas lauk is tangy and herbal, and the spleen fully absorbs all the spices it’s cooked in.
This Indonesian restaurant’s founder, Ms Liyana Kwan, first brought her original recipes and creations to Singapore in 1989. Over its 21-year history, Pagi Sore has maintained its traditional Indonesian taste while incorporating Chinese cooking styles into the preparation process and caters to both new and returning customers. Crowd favourites include the tahu telor ($10.20), the signature grilled Balinese chicken (from $7.80) and the aromatic steamed fish otah ($28.50).
Sticklers for tradition, Sari Ratu has got to be one of the more authentic places to get nasi padang in Singapore. Choices are aplenty at their main branch in Pahang Street so we don't blame you for taking your time when ordering! All time favourites include the rendang, eggplant in chilli, grilled chicken, chicken in creamy coconut curry, fried fish and also the delightful beef tendon curry if you're looking for something different. Stick around for dessert and their choice of cold drinks and juices to wash away the rich, rich food.
A hot lunchtime spot, you'll notice snaking queues outside any Hjh Maimunah store before the actual lunch hour. Of course, there's a reason for this: everyone wants first dibs on the food because trust us, it will run out. How it works is exactly like any other mixed rice stall where you get to choose whatever dishes you want and face the consequences at the cash register afterwards. If you've tried the tahu telor, Sundanese grilled chicken and the beef rendang, you'll understand why so many keep coming back for more. If you're feeling adventurous, try the lemak siput sedut (sea snails in a rich coconut broth). End with some traditional Malay kueh and desserts after your meal. Best part? It won't cost you more than $20 ($10 if you're really frugal with your dish choices).
Opened by Haji Isrin at the corner of Kandahar Street in 1948 – where it remains today – and now run by third-generation owners, the stall continues to churn out homely platters of authentic Malay dishes to a throng of people, including celebrities like former sports personality Fandi Ahmad and also us, simple, hungry people. 'Generous' is Nasi Pariaman's middle name. Plates are packed with rice covered in gravy of your choice – there’s gulai ayam (a chicken curry) and lodeh – and an assortment of side dishes such as sambal goreng, bagedil, ikan bilis, tofu and long beans. But the star here is the beef rendang ($3.50). Pair this dish with a steaming cup of teh tarik ($1.30) to complete your meal.
They say Singaporeans love to queue, but for nasi padang as good as Sinar Pagi's, it's worth it. The establishment has been around since 1966 and has opened another branch at the bustling Geylang Serai Market. Get ready for the spice if you're in line for some nasi padang because most of the dishes in this stall pack a punch. The star of the store is the tender barbecued chicken that is dropped into a coconut curry sauce. Going for vegetarian options? The towering stack of tahu goreng is sweet, crunchy and peanut-y and the braised brinjal is coated with ruby-red sambal. Bring on the heat.
This authentic Indonesian restaurant started in 1954 and specialises in Minangkabau cuisine – the source of all things Padang food. Having recently renovated, Rumah Makan Minang still sits pretty in the heart of the Malay heritage district, right in front of Sultan Mosque so you can't miss this establishment. Stacked dishes brimming with signature spicy classics are displayed behind the glass counter: tongue-searing petai prawns, daging balado, and racks of ayam panggang (spicy grilled chicken) that usually sell out by the end of lunchtime. The menu varies a little each day, so depending on your luck, you could be digging into a spicy curry on a Tuesday and perhaps a sambal brinjal on Wednesday.